The origins of May the 4th

Discover the surprising origins of May the 4th, the unofficial Star Wars holiday. Learn how a pun turned into a global celebration.

Credit: YouTube

Introduction: The origins of May the 4th

The phrase “May the 4th be with you” was first used in 1978, one year after the release of the original Star Wars movie, according to a post by Lucasfilm historian Lucas Seastrom. However, the first official application of the phrase to the May 4th date came in 1979, when the U.K. Conservative Party paid for a newspaper advertisement saying “May the Fourth Be With You, Maggie. Congratulations!” to celebrate Margaret Thatcher’s election victory.

Star Wars fans began celebrating May 4th more widely online over a decade ago, and the phrase “exploded … and it kept growing” according to Steve Sansweet, former head of fan relations at Lucasfilm. The Walt Disney Company began officially recognizing the holiday after acquiring Lucasfilm in 2012.

While the date is now embraced as an annual Star Wars celebration by Lucasfilm and Disney, it did not originate from them. The pun “May the Fourth be with you” playing off the famous Star Wars line “May the Force be with you” led to the organic growth of the date as a fan holiday. The month of May also has other significance for Star Wars, with the original movie premiering on May 25, 1977 and creator George Lucas’s birthday on May.

So in summary, while the first recorded uses of the phrase date back to 1978 and 1979, Star Wars Day on May 4th grew into a major fan-driven celebration in the 2000s and 2010s before being officially embraced by Disney and Lucasfilm after their 2012 merger. The date’s origins stem from wordplay on the famous Star Wars catchphrase rather than any official designation.

How did the phrase “may the force be with you” become popular?

The phrase “May the Force be with you” became popular primarily through its use in the Star Wars films, starting with the original 1977 movie, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. This phrase is uttered by several characters throughout the series and is emblematic of the Star Wars saga’s themes of good luck and protection. It is used to wish someone well, hoping that the mystical Force will aid them in their endeavors.

The phrase’s origins in the film and its subsequent adoption by fans and broader popular culture have cemented its status as an iconic line. It is often used in real-life situations as a way of saying goodbye or good luck, reflecting its original context in the movies. The line’s memorable and universal appeal is enhanced by its resemblance to traditional blessings in various cultures, which may have influenced its initial creation.

The popularity of “May the Force be with you” was further amplified by the massive success of the Star Wars films, which have had a profound impact on popular culture. The films’ widespread appeal and the dedicated fan base have led to the phrase being recognized and used globally. The phrase’s integration into everyday language and its use in various forms of media, from movies to merchandise, have made it a staple of modern pop culture.

Additionally, the phrase has been playfully adapted to “May the Fourth be with you” by fans, linking it to Star Wars Day on May 4th, which celebrates the Star Wars franchise. This pun has contributed to the phrase’s enduring popularity and visibility, making it a key part of annual celebrations among fans.

What other star wars phrases are popular?

Several other Star Wars phrases have become popular and iconic, resonating with audiences and becoming part of the cultural lexicon. Here are some notable ones:

  1. “I am your father.” – Darth Vader: This line from The Empire Strikes Back is one of the most famous revelations in film history, where Darth Vader reveals his relationship to Luke Skywalker.
  2. “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” – Leia Organa: This plea from Princess Leia in A New Hope initiates the epic adventure of the original trilogy.
  3. “It’s a trap!” – Admiral Ackbar: This exclamation during the climactic battle in Return of the Jedi has become a popular meme and is used widely to signify an impending problem.
  4. “Do or do not. There is no try.” – Yoda: A powerful piece of advice given by Yoda to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back, emphasizing commitment and action over mere attempt.
  5. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” – Multiple characters: This recurring line is used in various perilous or uncertain situations throughout the Star Wars films.
  6. “That’s no moon. It’s a space station.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi: Used in A New Hope when the characters first see the Death Star, indicating its massive size and threat.
  7. “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” – Darth Vader: Vader’s response to an Imperial officer’s skepticism about the Force in A New Hope showcases his menacing presence and power.
  8. “Never tell me the odds.” – Han Solo: In The Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo dismisses C-3PO’s warnings about the slim chances of successfully navigating an asteroid field, epitomizing his reckless bravery.
  9. “This is the way.” – Din Djarin (The Mandalorian): This phrase from the Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian reflects the code of conduct for the Mandalorian culture and has become a popular saying among fans.
  10. “You were my brother, Anakin! I loved you.” – Obi-Wan Kenobi: A poignant line from Revenge of the Sith that highlights the tragic downfall of Anakin Skywalker and his relationship with Obi-Wan.

These quotes, among others, have not only defined characters and moments within the Star Wars universe but have also found relevance in everyday life, often quoted by fans and used in various contexts outside of the films.

How has star wars influenced popular culture?

Star wars influenced popular culture
Credit: Shutterstock
Iconic CharactersDarth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2
Cultural ReferencesPhrases like ‘May the Force be with you’ and ‘I am your father’ are part of popular lexicon
Influence on Science Fiction GenreHeavy influence and inspiration seen in various science fiction works

Star Wars has had a profound and multifaceted influence on popular culture since its debut in 1977. Its impact spans various domains including film, merchandise, language, and fan engagement, shaping not only entertainment but also everyday life.

Film and Cinematic Influence

Star Wars revolutionized the film industry by popularizing the summer blockbuster model and advancing special effects technology. It pioneered the use of computer-generated imagery (CGI) and introduced sophisticated visual and sound effects through companies like Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound. The franchise’s approach to storytelling, with its epic narratives and complex characters, set a new standard for cinematic universes, influencing other major franchises like Marvel and Harry Potter.

Merchandising and Economic Impact

George Lucas’s strategic focus on merchandising created a new paradigm in the film industry. Star Wars merchandise has generated billions in revenue, demonstrating the lucrative potential of film-related products. This includes a vast array of items from toys and clothing to high-end collectibles, significantly impacting consumer culture and retail.

Cultural and Linguistic Impact

Phrases from Star Wars, such as “May the Force be with you,” have entered everyday language, reflecting the deep cultural penetration of the franchise3. The characters and themes from Star Wars have become iconic, shaping the social and cultural landscape and influencing various forms of media and art.

Fandom and Community

Star Wars has cultivated a passionate and active fan base that engages in a variety of activities from conventions and cosplay to fan fiction and online communities. This fandom has not only sustained the franchise’s popularity but also influenced the way media franchises engage with their audiences, fostering a participatory culture that extends beyond passive viewership.

Influence on Other Industries

The influence of Star Wars extends beyond entertainment into sectors like fashion, where its designs have inspired runway shows and casual wear. It has also impacted the technology sector, with its pioneering effects inspiring innovations in filmmaking and other fields.In summary, Star Wars has left an indelible mark on global popular culture, transforming entertainment, merchandising, language, and community engagement. Its legacy continues to influence new generations of filmmakers, artists, and fans around the world.

What is the origin of the star wars franchise?

CreatorGeorge Lucas
Original Release1977 – present
Current OwnerLucasfilm Ltd.
Origin of the star wars franchise
Credit; Google

The Star Wars franchise was created by George Lucas. The origin of the franchise dates back to 1976 when Lucas began developing the universe that would become Star Wars. The first film in the series, originally titled just “Star Wars” and later rebranded as “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope,” was released in 1977. This film quickly became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon, setting the stage for one of the most successful and influential franchises in film history.

Lucas’s inspiration for Star Wars came from multiple sources. He was influenced by earlier science fiction and adventure serials, such as Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers, as well as the samurai films of Akira Kurosawa, Westerns, and World War II dogfight films. The narrative framework of Star Wars, involving a young hero’s adventure and development, draws heavily on classical mythological motifs and Joseph Campbell’s concept of the Hero’s Journey, as outlined in his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”.

The franchise expanded rapidly, encompassing not only films but also books, television series, video games, and more, creating a comprehensive and enduring universe that continues to evolve and attract new fans.

What other holidays are celebrated on may 4th?

MeaningHoliday of Breaking the Fast
Also known asLesser Eid, Sweet Eid, Sugar Feast
SignificanceMarks the end of the month-long dawn-to-sunset fasting of Ramadan.
Credit; Sofestive.Com

On May 4th, several holidays and observances are celebrated in addition to Star Wars Day. These include:

  • International Firefighters Day: A day to recognize and honor the sacrifices that firefighters make to ensure that their communities and environment are as safe as possible.
  • Kent State Shootings Remembrance: Commemorates the anniversary of the Kent State shootings in 1970, where four students were killed during protests against the Vietnam War.
  • National Day of Prayer: In the United States, this day is observed annually on the first Thursday of May, dedicated to people of all faiths to pray for the nation.
  • National Orange Juice Day: Celebrates orange juice, a staple in many breakfasts around the world.
  • National Self-Employed Day: Recognizes the hard work and dedication of self-employed individuals.
  • Pesach Sheni: A minor Jewish holiday, also known as the “Second Passover,” observed exactly one month after Passover.
  • Greenery Day: In Japan, part of the Golden Week, Greenery Day is a day to appreciate nature and be grateful for blessings. It was moved to May 4th in 20072.

These holidays and observances show the diversity of celebrations and remembrances taking place on May 4th around the world.

How is star wars day celebrated around the world?

Star Wars Day, celebrated on May 4th, is observed globally with a variety of fan-driven activities and official events. Here are some common ways in which Star Wars Day is celebrated around the world:

  1. Movie Marathons and Screenings: Fans often gather for movie marathons of the Star Wars films, either at home or at special screenings organized in cinemas.
  2. Costume Parties and Cosplay Events: Many fans dress up as their favorite Star Wars characters and attend costume parties. Cosplay events are also held, where fans can showcase their elaborate Star Wars-themed costumes.
  3. Special Promotions and Deals: Businesses frequently offer special promotions related to Star Wars merchandise. This includes discounts on Star Wars toys, collectibles, and apparel, as well as themed food and drinks.
  4. Fan Conventions: Larger gatherings, such as the Star Wars Celebration, bring together thousands of fans for multiple days of activities, including panels with actors and creators, exclusive merchandise sales, and more.
  5. Social Media and Online Communities: Fans participate in Star Wars Day by sharing messages, artwork, and memes related to Star Wars on social media platforms. Online communities often host special events or discussions to mark the day.
  6. DIY Crafts and Recipes: Some fans engage in crafting Star Wars-themed items or cooking dishes inspired by the series, sharing their creations online or at gatherings.
  7. Charitable Activities: Some fan groups organize charity events or fundraisers, leveraging the popularity of Star Wars Day to support various causes.
  8. Special Events at Theme Parks: Locations like Disneyland, which houses the Star Wars-themed Galaxy’s Edge, host special events and experiences for visitors on Star Wars Day.

These celebrations not only underscore the enduring influence of the Star Wars franchise on popular culture but also serve as a unifying force for fans across generations, making Star Wars Day a unique global phenomenon.


In conclusion, Star Wars Day, celebrated on May 4th with the rallying cry “May the Fourth be with you,” has evolved into a global phenomenon that transcends the boundaries of a typical fan observance. Across the world, fans of all ages come together to celebrate their love for the Star Wars universe through a diverse array of activities. From movie marathons and cosplay events to special promotions, online community engagements, and charitable acts, the day offers something for every Star Wars enthusiast.

The widespread participation in Star Wars Day activities highlights the franchise’s significant impact on popular culture and its ability to foster a sense of community and shared joy among its fans. Whether through dressing up as beloved characters, engaging in themed crafts and recipes, or visiting themed attractions, Star Wars Day serves as a testament to the enduring legacy and universal appeal of the Star Wars saga.

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